Ki67 labeling index in core needle biopsies independently predicts tumor-specific survival in prostate cancer

Hum Pathol. 1998 Sep;29(9):949-54. doi: 10.1016/s0046-8177(98)90199-x.


A better knowledge of the biological aggressiveness of individual tumors could facilitate the selection of treatment in prostate cancer patients. This study assesses the influence of histological and molecular features in core needle biopsy specimens of prostate cancer on tumor-specific survival. Formalin-fixed core needle biopsy specimens from 111 consecutive patients (mean follow-up, 5.0 years) were immunohistochemically examined for their proliferative activity (Ki67 labeling index [LI]) and expression of p53 and Bcl-2. Overexpression of p53 was found in 16% of the biopsy specimens and was mainly restricted to poorly differentiated tumors. Bcl-2 positivity was found in 20% of tumors. The median Ki67 LI was 7.5%. There was a strong relationship between Ki67 LI and Gleason grade, with a continuous increase in the proliferative activity from low-grade to high-grade tumors (P = .0006). Univariate tumor-specific survival analysis showed that high Gleason score (P = .0018), high percentage of biopsy tumor involvement (P = .0227), high Ki67 LI (P = .0007), and p53 positivity (P = .0024) were predictors of tumor-related death. A high Ki67 LI emerged as the only independent predictor of tumor-specific survival in multiparametric analysis. These results indicate that core needle biopsy specimens of the prostate not only are useful for diagnosis of malignancy but also can provide valuable prognostic information. Immunohistochemical examinations of molecular features may be a helpful adjunct for a better pretherapeutic assessment of prostate cancer aggressiveness and therefore contribute to an improved initial patient management.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Survival Rate
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53